- Former Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★
"Learn. Burn out. Leave." The Usual Animalz StoryMar 2, 2023 - Content Marketing Manager in New York, NYRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
Not counting the extremely incompetent leadership, Animalz has some of the most talented people in content marketing. It's a privilege to work with them every single day. This agency is therefore great if you're relatively new in your content marketing career, and would like to strengthen your skills and hold yourself to a higher standard. To some extent, this agency is still regarded as one of the best content marketing agencies on the planet. While that reputation is now dying as a result of poor leadership, having the Animalz logo on your resume may help open some doors in your content marketing career. The job is also completely remote, which is a huge plus if you're not so big on commuting.
As many other reviews have pointed out, Animalz is currently in a death spiral. Morale is extremely low. Burnout is the norm. Employees have been leaving in droves. And customer churn is at an all-time high. The root cause for all of the above? An incompetent and inexperienced leadership team that looks like a bunch of children pretend-playing at running a company. Except, actual children tend to show signs of empathy for those around them, which the current leadership severely lacks. For starters, there is a huge disconnect between what’s promised to the clients (quality) and the internal expectations (quantity). Animalz has always positioned itself as a premium content marketing agency, offering attention to detail, great customer service, and top-notch content; all the qualities of a true “white glove” service. However, certain people in the leadership — who, mind you, couldn’t write a single blog post to save their lives — believe that producing content of that level is like snapping your fingers. If you fail to deliver a certain number of articles every 3 months (which you most likely would) you’ll get placed on a performance improvement plan by a certain, miserable person in the leadership. And if the stress of your job being constantly at risk isn’t enough, you get lumped together with a “Customer Success Manager,” whose JD is to essentially crack the whip on you to “GET THINGS DONE” because they can’t be bothered to manage expectations with the clients. Ultimately, you’ll end up getting burnt-out which you’ll never really recover from. These issues have been brought up with the leadership team MANY times. Employees have been voicing their concerns and letting them know that something about the process needs to change. Unfortunately, the leadership team simply refuses to listen to anything that those on the ground — the actual people earning revenue for the company — have to say. After completely ignoring the cries of the poor CMs, team leads, and editors below, what does the leadership do to “fix” the burnout problem? Planning a total organizational restructure that adds even more responsibilities to the people who are already overworked! That itself opened up an entirely new can of worms, as some seriously talented people were denied new “senior-level” positions for reasons that are extremely foolish. Now, those people are actively planning their exits from the company. I’m not going to go much deeper into this mess because it’s a dumpster fire of such a large magnitude that it’ll make this review super long. The point of sharing this was to show you the severe incompetence of the Animalz leadership. There are also little to no growth opportunities. Sure, you’ll learn how to write an incredible blog post, and pick up on some SEO and reporting skills. But that’s where the growth ends. The only way up is being a total suck-up. If you’re cool with that, there’s no stopping you from breaking the glass ceiling. But if you’re not, you’ll be forced to take initiative, and prove your worth and skills “on your own time.” And even then, if someone on the leadership team has a personal problem with you, you’ll end up staying where you are for the rest of your duration at Animalz.Continue reading
Other Employee Reviews
- Current Employee, more than 1 year★★★★★
A great fit for me, but not perfect for everyoneJul 7, 2022 - Content Marketing ManagerRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
A few days into my career at Animalz, I knew it was a great fit. However, because of past toxic job experiences, I was wary that I was in a "honeymoon" phase that would eventually wear off. Over a year later, it still hasn't worn off! No company is perfect, but what makes Animalz stand out is that leadership genuinely cares about their people and is working to make things better. Sometimes that progress is slow, sometimes it creates growing pains, etc. But I've been in places where no progress is made at all...so dealing with growing pains feels far better. It's a sign that they're continually trying to make things better and are always willing to admit when they're wrong and need to change direction. Agency life in general can be hard. It requires a focus on production, which can be stressful. But over the years they've reduced the number of articles to a manageable amount after listening to their employees. They're also working on ways to reduce the emphasis on production numbers. That's not an easy task in an agency environment, but they're willing to take it on for our sake. As far as workload, the expectation is 8 articles a month (on the months you don't take PTO). If you come from agency life, you know how manageable this is compared to most agencies that require you to write an article a day sometimes. The feedback process is hefty, so in general, the articles do take longer from start to finish, but it's so nice to be able to focus on quality over quantity.
If you haven't been in a position where you're writing full-time (or if you have no agency experience), there might be a steep learning curve to ramp up to the production required. So if you're genuinely not interested in writing full time, this probably isn't the position for you. The company is also facing growing pains right now (largely due to restructuring how teams work). This is natural with any company, but if you're easily stressed out by change then maybe consider applying 6 months from now when things have stabilized.Continue reading
- Former Employee, more than 3 years★★★★★
Rearranging deck chairs on the TitanicJun 7, 2023 - Content Marketing Manager in New York, NYRecommendCEO ApprovalBusiness Outlook
The writers and editors here are incredibly talented and wonderful colleagues. I learned so much from them. The hours could be wonderfully flexible if you were lucky with your assignments.
Leadership at Animalz is bafflingly incompetent. They squandered an excellent reputation and a stable of skilled content marketing professionals for no discernible reason with their poor decision-making and continuous harebrained "re-orgs". Content Marketers (CMs) repeatedly identified specific issues that were getting in the way of article deliveries. These issues---such as poorly written briefs and lack of strategy, lack of a clear delivery process, and difficult or slow-to-respond customers---would have been easy to address but leadership failed to hear it every single time. Instead of providing CMs the resources they needed to do their jobs well and deliver income for the company, leadership instead chose to gaslight and punish them with PIPs in strange and arbitrary ways. Numerous CMs were put on PIPs for underdelivering article credits, despite not having been assigned enough articles for the month by their managers or facing roadblocks with customers they needed help with but didn't get. Their approach was cruel, but even more frustratingly it was completely ineffective. We all wanted to deliver but were undermined in our ability to do so and then punished for that failure. Not a great business strategy. It must be made clear that the failure starts at the top - with umbrella company Golden Wok and its owner Walter Chen. He placed unskilled, inexperienced people in key leadership roles, seemingly just for their value as yes-men rather than their skill or business acumen. It shows. All of the current leadership are woefully underqualified for their roles and have flailed their way to the top, taking the company down underneath them. His most recent decision seems to be suddenly converting the company to a freelance model, just six weeks after another expensive and poorly planned re-org. They didn't seem to anticipate that anyone wouldn't want to come back to freelance for them after being unceremoniously laid off and having their health insurance stripped from them with a single day's notice. If they'd executed the change with an ounce more compassion, it might have worked, but they shot themselves in the foot yet again by being unnecessarily inhumane to their employees. They seem genuinely shocked that their writers and editors aren't happy (or desperate) enough to take the deal. From a business perspective, it's hard to see what the value add is for either new "freelancers" or customers. While Animalz used to offer a strong support team of researchers, editors, copyeditors, and strategists, all those roles have been stripped over time. Their value as a middleman is nonexistent. I would severely caution anyone against seeking employment or doing business with any of the companies under his umbrella. Animalz is hemorrhaging employees and customers and for good reason. For any other businesses reading this: hire former Animalz writers and editors. You've just been gifted an incredible flood of talent.Continue reading